My son and I were stopped at a red light while coming home from school recently. We were talking to each other when I saw his eye line change from looking at me to looking beyond me, so I turned to see what it was that caught his attention. There in the window of a home was a full-sized leg lamp just like the one from A Christmas Story. I looked back at him wide-eyed, mirroring his surprised look, and we both giggled in the way that you do when sharing an inside joke.

It was a fun and funny moment, and we both decided that whoever lived there must be pretty cool.

Moments.

Moments as simple as seeing a movie reference come to life…resulting in a knowing, shared laugh.

Amidst all the hubbub and crazy of life, it is the moments that sustain us. Thank God for the moments, no? I know I am grateful. I can slog my way through a day of frustration and challenges, and if a moment or two comes my way, it can really make all the difference.

As we are mired in the holiday season, those frustrations and challenges can seem to come even faster as we pressure ourselves to have everything just so in order to make beautiful memories, dammit. We’ve got to make the memories! Are we ready to make the memories?!

 

...a not exactly perfect cookie that recalls a sweet (pun intended) Christmas memory
…a not exactly perfect cookie that recalls a sweet (pun intended) Christmas memory

 

Often the stress is overwhelming while the results end up pretty underwhelming.

And in this year—this strange, surreal year of 2016— there is much more than just the normal holiday stress. There is a sense of foreboding for me and so many people I care about that the anxiety is palpable. I’ve never gone into a new year with the kind of apprehension and flat out fear of what may come for…the world, really…as I am when looking ahead to what 2017 may bring. I pray the anxiety is misplaced…but I dread it will be validated.

…But hope springs eternal…right? At least I pray it does.

And while the human spirit is amazingly resilient, at the same time our sensitive hearts are fragile and need to be handled with care. On that note, in what has become a tradition for The Juggle Struggle, I would like to share with you again a brief reminder for us to be gentle with one another—and ourselves.

This Christmas, I hope and pray that you are able to make some beautiful (non-pressured) memories…perhaps a series of moments that make you smile and warm your heart.…

God’s peace and blessings to you, friends.

 

FraGEElay

Originally posted on December 24, 2012

Thanks to A Christmas Story, I can never see the word “fragile” without pronouncing it fraGEElay in my head. And on this Christmas Eve, things can indeed be fragile…huge ToDo lists…family gatherings…full schedules…exhausted parents trying to provide the “perfect”  Christmas for their kids…It can get messy and broken pretty quickly. So as you would with fragile things, be gentle.

 

reason for the season

 

Though I have plenty of dysfunctional memories of this time of year (don’t we all?), I have so many lovely ones, too. Thankfully, the memories of things like my mom threatening to have Santa pass over our house if we weren’t asleep in two minutes (no pressure!) are far outnumbered with ones like having my dad read Santa Mouse to us, sledding with cousins, and counting Christmas trees in the windows during any nighttime car ride.

 

20141129_214946

 

Another favorite memory of mine is the placing of the baby Jesus in the manger of our Nativity scene on Christmas Eve. We knew Christmas had really come when that happened. And for any who may be reading who don’t hold Christmas as a time to feel the blessings of the birth of the Christ child, please do not be offended as I wish those who do a merry Christmas. (I’m hoping we’re cool with it, as I would not be upset if someone wished me a happy Hanukah or Kwanzaa.) I wish everyone blessings…and if life is not treating you gently, I pray you have people in your life who do. Or at least love you as they help you pick up the pieces.

 

All photos are my own or used with permission.
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